In late August, AMD's head of sales and marketing Henri Richard left the company. Richard's parting words included the statement, "I am leaving AMD at a time when the company is in position to break the monopoly that plagues this industry." However, his departure and that of other AMD executives (including former ATI CEO Dave Orton) prior to the Barcelona launch and after repeated quarterly losses seemed evocative of the phrase, "rats leaving a sinking ship."
Shortly after his departure, Richard took on the job of Senior Vice President at Freescale Semiconductor—a Texas-based Motorola spin-off that specializes in embedded semiconductors for automotive applications, cell phones, networking, communications, and other markets. Richard talked to the folks at eWeek about his departure from AMD and his new position at Freescale. According to Richard, August was a good time to leave AMD. "If I was going to go, the time was right." He elaborates, "Barcelona . . . was coming out. The company was looking at a string of good news and products [going into 2008]. Leaving later would have looked worse."
Regarding his decision to work at Freescale, Richard talks of the appeal of embedded devices. "AMD's focus in large part was on the PC marketplace; Freescale has more of a 'mass mainstream' focus." Richard also points out that the embedded market is a friendlier one than the PC microprocessor market. "The market's large; no one owns 80 percent of the market," he explains, referring to Intel.